As anticipated, the Mixed Team event in the Cadet World Championships here in Zagreb, brought about the greatest atmosphere and demonstrated the judo values in every way imaginable.
Azerbaijan finished on top of the medal table in the individual competition and continued on their quest for yet more glory by moving through their quarter, defeating Greece 4:1 and Kazakhstan 4:2. Meeting them in the semi final was Türkye.
Türkiye were faced with a 3:3 draw against Uzbekistan in the quarter final round, and luckily for Türkiye, their now-world champion in the +90kg category, Ibrahim TATAROGLU was drawn. After just winning his contest, the +81kg men went head to head again in this decider match.
The quarter finals were incredible, especially between Brazil and Japan as they were in fact the first to result in a draw of 3:3, the -81kg category was decided and the final win was taken by Japan. Japan were then sent on to compete against the number one seed, Team France.
As per tradition, the team of France have excelled in this event, with the team mentality engrained in the French judo culture. They made light work of their earlier rounds, defeating Estonia 4:0 and the home team of Croatia, 4:1. Japan however were a different class today.
Unfortunately for the host team, they were unable to scrape past Brazil in the repechage rounds and finish the event in seventh place.
France versus Japan
Due to an injury for the Japanese in the earlier rounds, France started the semi final 1-0 up against their opponents, however it wasn’t long until YAMAMOTO Fuku evened the score by defeating Maxence ADRIANO in the -60kg category. Japan continued to collect points, with SHIMIZU Yuri throwing Emmy GALLUDEC with uchi mata in -63kg.
France were back in the swing of things in the next head to head, David GNAFOUA defeated NAKADA Ryota with an uchi mata of his own in the -81kg category, keeping France in the game. The +63kg Celia CANCAN (FRA) put the pressure on her next opponent INOUE Tomoka, forcing the Japanese athlete to pick up two shidos, eventually in golden score, Cancan scored with o uchi gari. By now it was a 3-2 lead for France, needing only one more win, however the -48kg HATAYAMA Rin was too quick in ne waza for Mel LE CAM who submitted, forcing a tie break.
In the draw, Cancan and Inoue were drawn for the +63kg category and this time, both collected two shidos, evidently exhausted from their prior contest. There were huge celebrations for France, a third shido issued to Inoue.
Azerbaijan versus Türkiye
The current Cadet European champions, Azerbaijan had proven their capabilities in the earlier rounds but were now challenged by the strong team of Türkiye.
Cadet world silver medallist in -60kg, Mahammad MUSAYEV (AZE), doubled up on waza ari scores against Hilmi MUCIK (TUR), giving Azerbaijan the lead initially and the -63kg cadet world champion, Khadizha GADASHOVA continued the winning streak against Hilal AKYILDIZ with an onslaught of attacks, and with only 8 seconds left on the clock, gained a waza ari with a lightning speed ko uchi gari. Mehdi ABBASOV (AZE) first suffered at the hands of Emir Selim ARI (TUR) after the Turkish athlete scored with harai maki komi in the -81kg round, but Ari was later disqualified for head diving.
Azerbaijan needed only one more win to go in to the final against France, but Türkiye weren’t about to hand it over. Tuana GULENAY (AZE) gave Türkiye their first win in the +63kg category, defeating Kamilla TOHOLIYEVA with her ne waza skills, holding the osae komi. Next up, Tataroglu continued his ‘undefeated’ trend this week with a win against Ramazan AHMADOV, scoring first with harai maki komi and then taking advantage of a weak drop seoi nage, throwing with o soto gari.
Unfortunately for Azerbaijan it didn’t stop there, Vusala HAJIYEVA was disqualified for taking out the rear supporting leg of Gizem DINCER (TUR) in the -48kg round. Just like in the France and Japan semi final, Azerbaijan and Türkiye went to a deciding match, Gadashova and Mucik in the -63kg category. Similarly, the pair were unable to land a score and eventually a third shido was issued to Mucik.
Ultimately this means we will see a repeat of the European Championship final between Azerbaijan and France, giving the latter the opportunity to get their revenge. The final block will begin at 16:00 and the live stream can be found at JudoTV.com.
Author: Thea Cowen